Thursday, July 29, 2010


‘The Vegetative Universe. Opens like a flower from the earths center:
In which is Eternity. It expands in Stars to the Mundane Shell
And there it meets Eternity again, both within and without,
And the abstract Voids between the Stars are the Satanic Wheels.’ ~ Jerusalem

The city of Golgonooza is where Blake really meets Plotinus, Leibniz, and anyone else who posits eternity as an inherently internal perception, something that begins with an inner identity blossoming out into a vast network of identities that are nonetheless finite and thereby inferior to the singular original identity. Blake’s charge, then, which is once again aligned with that of Platonism, is to rediscover, or more importantly, to recreate that inner One, that comprehensive monad which inevitably leads to the All.

It is the method that Blake utilizes which ultimately separates him from prior philosophers, if only in appearance. From Vedanta to the Stoics, from the Christ to Gnosticism, we gather a more or less unified declaration to know thyself; Blake is slightly more practical than most, offering a very general means to this epistemological end. If every man is some kind of artist, as we have learned, than it certainly behooves us to discern the precise nature of our particular artistry, for therein lies the essential man.

No work of art is ever wasted, never neglected in the grand scheme of things; rather, it is dutifully collected in the city of Golgonooza, where art is the wood, brick and stone used to build everything. So, where we increasingly identify with our inner, artistic selves, we are also building Golgonooza; in this way can Blake ingeniously merge the individual aspect into the collective entirety in a kind of karmic scale which allots to every man what is properly his. This concept really epitomizes what Blake tries to accomplish on the metaphysical level, which is, namely, to subsume the merits of the individual into the integral framework of the greater whole.

‘And every part of the City if fourfold; & every inhabitant fourfold.
And every pot & vessel & garment & utensil of the houses,
And every house, fourfold…’ ~ Jerusalem

The city of Golgonooza is characterized by the ‘fourfold’ nature of its constituents, which of course means the perfection, the completion of the city; it is what the Prophets have called ‘New Jerusalem’, the place where the fallen world finally returns to its proto-Eden state. Now, this not only corroborates the view that Golgonooza is a figurative ‘ideality’, a heaven of sorts, but it also contributes to the position that such a supposedly fantastic realm is actually possible to conceive of and really ‘live’ in whilst enduring our present state of mortality.

We once more return to the notion of esse est percipi: God makes Himself immediately clear to the seeking individual, whose reality is now founded on this vision of God, which inexorably manifests itself in some shape or form based on art, which makes its return to divinity via the golden streets of Golgonooza. This is a theoretically necessary cycle that is distinctly paralleled to the cosmic paths of mankind once he has awakened himself from the dreary, slumberous natural world; and yet it is more than merely theoretical: this vision and this reality is a vigorous and endearing call to arms sent out to any of the old guard still willing to raise themselves to their former godhood, to their old thrones sitting upon eternity.

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